Spice up the fish 'n' chips

Whitebait 'chips' with green tabasco mayonnaise.
Whitebait 'chips' with green tabasco mayonnaise.

The seafood consumption in my household always increases dramatically as the weather gets warmer. Freshness, of course, is the key with fish, so don't shop too far in advance. Select bright-looking produce and enjoy it at its best.

Whitebait 'chips' with green Tabasco mayonnaise

I served these up to my little ones recently and they instantly called them ''fish-chips'' and couldn't get enough of them. My girls are OK with heat, but you can dial the chilli and Tabasco down, or up, to taste.

Canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying
200ml quality mayonnaise
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 tbsp green Tabasco
3 green chillies, finely chopped, seeds in
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Flaked salt
500g whitebait
150g semolina

1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan or deep fryer to 180C.

2. Mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt, Tabasco and chilli with a squeeze of lemon and a little salt.

3. Toss half the whitebait in semolina and fry immediately for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly golden. Drain and season. Repeat with the remaining whitebait and serve piping hot with mayo and lemon wedges.

Drink: Fresh lemon squash.

Serves 4-6 as a snack

Seared tuna steak with pine nuts, currants, sorrel and mint.
Seared tuna steak with pine nuts, currants, sorrel and mint.

Seared tuna steak with pine nuts, currants, sorrel and mint

Cooking tuna on one side may seem a little unusual, but by doing so you preserve the beautiful raw flesh while still getting the flavour from a good sear. This method is as much about texture as flavour - use the best tuna you can find. If you prefer, you could use skipjack tuna or kingfish cut into thick escalopes so you can still cook it in the same manner.

2 x 180g premium-quality yellowfin tuna steaks
Flaked salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1½ tbsp currants
½ red onion, sliced
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 slice rye sourdough bread
1 clove garlic
40g toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp thick plain yoghurt
5 leaves sorrel, torn
2 sprigs mint, picked
2 sprigs parsley, picked
1 lemon, cheeks sliced off

1. Season the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper and a little oil and leave at room temperature for about 10 minutes to remove the chill.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the sherry vinegar and currants over high heat until boiling. Pull off the heat, add the sliced onion, dried chilli and a good splash of oil to make a dressing, season and mix.

3. Preheat a griddle plate over high heat and grill bread until nicely marked and toasted. Remove from heat and rub each side well with garlic. Tear into tiny pieces and mix through the dressing, along with the pine nuts. Add more oil if necessary.

4. Cook the tuna on the same griddle on one side for 3 minutes only, leaving half the steak raw on the other side. Place on a plate, cooked side down, and spoon some yoghurt over a corner of the fish, scatter the herbs over, spoon the dressing over the top and serve with the lemon cheeks.

Drink: Try this with falanghina, a fruity southern Italian white with great acidity. Vermentino or pinot grigio would also be a great match.

Serves 2

- Sydney Morning Herald